Amid the thousands of pieces of evidence released Thursday against a man accused of killing a woman he met through Craigslist, one stands out: a photograph of a pair of brown leather shoes stained with the blood of his alleged victim.
Prosecutors said Philip Markoff was wearing the shoes when he killed Julissa Brisman, a masseuse from New York City who was fatally shot on April 14, 2009, after she agreed to meet Markoff in her room at a Boston hotel.
Markoff took his own life in jail as he awaited trial, which had been expected to begin this month.
Authorities say Markoff beat Brisman when she resisted his attempt to rob her, then shot her three times. Six days later, he was wearing the blood-stained shoes when he was arrested.
"He had Julissa Brisman's blood on him — literally — when we took him into custody and charged him with her murder," Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said during a news conference in which prosecutors released their case file on the Markoff investigation.
Investigators also showed a hollowed-out medical handbook, "Gray's Anatomy," where Markoff stored the handgun he allegedly used to kill Brisman.
The documents, photographs, video surveillance and other evidence released by Conley's office offer nothing to answer a lingering question in the minds of investigators: Why did Markoff — a Boston University medical student who was engaged to be married and had a bright future — decide to meet women through the "erotic services" section of Craigslist and then rob them?
Markoff also had been charged in the armed robbery of a Las Vegas woman at another Boston hotel within four days of Brisman's death. Rhode Island prosecutors also accused him of attacking a stripper that same week. He had met all three through Craigslist advertisements for erotic services.
Shortly after his arrest, some investigators theorized that he had gambling debts. He was stopped by police as he was driving to the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut.
But Conley said investigators have not been able to conclusively determine any motive.
"There was apparently a very dark and sinister side of Philip Markoff that he took to the grave with him," Conley said.
Messages for comment were left Thursday with attorneys for Markoff and Brisman's family.
Brisman's mother had expressed frustration last month that Conley had not released the case file six months after Markoff's death.